Back to All Events

Prismatic Memory: Frequency Festival

  • Art Institute of Chicago - Fullerton Hall 111 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL, 60603 United States (map)

Music of Hans Thomalla (world premiere) & Beat Furrer

A kaleidoscope of timbres is at the heart of our upcoming project, Prismatic Memory, featuring the world premiere of Hans Thomalla’s Bagatellen for string quartet and the String Quartet No. 3 by Beat Furrer. This event is a part of the inaugural Frequency Festival, a six-day new music showcase across Chicago. (

***FREE with museum admission***

Associate Professor of Composition at Northwestern University, Hans Thomalla is an important figure in our history, having collaborated with us for the recording of his Albumblatt on our debut album, Chambers. Whereas Albumblatt emerges from explorations of unpitched and unusual sounds, evoking the elusive nature of memory, Bagatellen takes tonal music of the past as its departure point for its often microscopic timbral adventures. Commissioned by us and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Bagatellen for String Quartet receives its world premiere at this event.

Austrian composer Beat Furrer is a luminary of the European avant-garde but remains largely off the radar in the United States, and we are eager to bring his String Quartet No. 3 to new ears for this performance. A staggering, 52-minute epic, this piece excavates minute sounds using every inch of string and bow, compelling you, the listener, to lean in to capture the sonic prism it creates. 

The two works comprising Prismatic Memory have generated curiosity around the country, and performances are scheduled in New York City, Boston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Bowling Green in addition to a Wentz Hall concert in Naperville. We're taking a different programming path with Prismatic Memory, offering you the opportunity to reckon with two large-scale pieces on the front lines of the avant garde.

Join us after the concert for a talk-back hosted by our sponsors, Goethe Institut Chicago!

Bagatellen by Hans Thomalla was commissioned by Spektral Quartet and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Additional project support from Goethe-Institut Chicago.

Earlier Event: February 25
A Very Open Rehearsal